Hawaii ex-pats to party in San Francisco Bay area
NO beer ban, no controversy; just froth, food, fellowship and football for the more than 3,000 isle ex-pats and the wannabe Hawaii-tied this weekend in San Jose, Calif.
The Hawaii Chamber of Commerce of Northern California and the University of Hawaii Alumni Association are sponsoring the seventh annual Road Warrior Tailgate party in San Jose tomorrow along with local and locally tied businesses in NorCal.
The chamber formed in 1999 and has grown to 2,500 members and more than 50 business supporters.
The focal point is supposedly the game between UH and San Jose State University, but we all know that's only part of it. These former Hawaii folks are getting together to do what we do here at home: to make family where genetic ties are nonexistent.
The UH Alumni Association's sponsorship "is just one example of how we're continuing to build the UH family, no matter where they are," said Kevin Takamori, executive director.
The event actually starts this evening with a pep rally featuring Warriors football coach June Jones, UH Athletic Director Herman Frazier and Takamori.
Tomorrow's 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. tailgate party precedes the game and is cosponsored by Kamehameha Schools, Liberty Mutual, Anheuser Bush Hawaii, Big Sumo, Hukilau Restaurants, Tiki Tiki, Academy of Hawaiian Arts, Rainbowtique and the Hyatt San Jose.
Hukilau Restaurant's San Jose location, one of three, will host the post-game party.
"We started organizing these tailgates in the Bay area, Reno and Fresno since 1999 because we wanted to bring together kamaaina for these games to support our hometown team," said Eric Tao, Hilo-born president of the far-flung Chamber of Commerce chapter.
Some of the sponsors are local, while others are Hawaii-connected Bay Area businesses.
Big Sumo is a company that sells T-shirts with different sumo themes. Tiki Tiki sells lifestyle items such as jewelry, lotions and other products of Hawaii. The Academy "is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting all levels of Hawaiian arts and culture," said Daryl Higashi, of the chamber. He is an Aiea grad who has lived on the mainland since 1985. By day, Higashi is the supportive housing finance director for the City and County of San Francisco.
The all-volunteer chamber is comprised primarily of Hawaii ex-pats who "decided to make this their home for now, but also give back to Hawaii at the same time," Higashi said.
While this is primarily a social event, the chamber also hosts fund-raisers and funds scholarships for Hawaii students planning to attend college in the Bay area.
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Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org